What Worries the World - November 2019

Globally, just 39% think their country is heading in the right direction; 61% say things are off on the wrong track. The top worries globally are Poverty/Social inequality, Unemployment, Crime and Violence and Financial/Political corruption.

What Worries the World is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 74 in 28 countries including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

This latest What Worries the World study finds the majority of people across the participating nations feel their country is on the wrong track (61% on average), with Spain (83%), Chile (82%), Italy (79%) and Great Britain (77%) revealing the highest levels of apprehension.

The study finds that most people across the 28 countries surveyed say that their country is on the wrong track (this month’s 61% is very slightly up on the 59% recorded last month). But there are widespread discrepancies in scores across the different markets.

Right Direction?

In line with previous trends, Chinese citizens remain the most confident about their nation’s direction with 95% believing their country is heading in the right direction. Saudi Arabia (81%) remains in second place with India (69%) in third place, ahead of Malaysia (47%).

  • Russia (46%) and South Africa (25%) have seen the greatest increase in national optimism this month, with both nations up 10 percentage points (to 46% and 25% respectively). There are no other notable increases in positivity this month.
  • Spanish, Chilean, Italian, and British respondents have the greatest apprehension about the direction taken by their country this month. Just 17% of Spanish citizens think their country is going in the right direction, followed by 18% in Chile, 21% in Italy and 23% in Great Britain.
  • Chile and Turkey are the nations with greatest drop-offs in positivity— with a reduction of 13 and 12 points from the previous month respectively.
  • The survey also records a 7-point fall in Mexico (42%) and a 6-point fall in both Peru (43%) Sweden (26%),

The four major worries globally are:

  1. Poverty/Social Inequality (33%). Hungary (60%) is the nation which is most anxious about this issue, followed by Chile (55%) and Russia on 53%. Chile is also the country with the greatest month-on-month increase in this worry, with a 23 percentage point rise. There is also a notable rise in apprehension by Belgian citizens (39%) with a 9 percentage point increase. Russia (53%) and Argentina (39%) are the nations with the biggest decreases in this worry showing declines from the previous month of 10 percentage and 9 percentage points respectively. The US (18%) is the single least worried nation on this issue.
  2. Unemployment (32%). The highest levels of concern are seen in South Africa and Spain (both 62%) closely followed by Italy (61%). Turkey (48%) is the nation with the greatest increase in worry for this month with a 12 percentage point increase from the previous month. Worries around unemployment are lowest in the Netherlands (where it is mentioned by 10%), Israel and Germany (11%).
  3. Crime and Violence (30%). The highest levels of concern are once again seen in Mexico (67%) and South Africa (62%) with Peru (60%) following in third. Israel (33%) is the country with the biggest increase from the previous month, with a rise of 9 percentage points.
  4. Financial/Political Corruption (30%). Peru (with 63%) has the highest proportion worried about this issue, followed by South Africa (59%) and Hungary (51%). Chile (47%) records the largest increase in anxiety with an increase of 15 percentage points from the previous month. The greatest falls in this issue come from Hungary (-8) and Russia (-7).
  5. Healthcare (25%).
The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The 28 countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. 19,889 interviews were conducted between October 25th, 2019 – November 8th, 2019 among adults aged 18-74 in the US, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and Canada and age 16-74 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

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